The Work of God Apostolate

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 1 chapter 24 verses 378-388 Index

 Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary By Sor Marķa of Agreda


  INDEX            Book 1  Chapter  24    Verses:  378-388

378. The enforced silence of other children in their
first years, and the slow evolution of their intellect and
of their power of speech arising from natural weakness,
was heroic virtue in the infant Queen. For if speech is
the product of the intellect and as it were the result of
its activity, and if She was in perfect possession of all
her faculties since her Conception, then the fact of her
not speaking as soon as She was born, did not arise from
the want of ability, but because She did not wish to make
use of her power. Other children are not furnished
with the natural forces, which are required to open their
mouth and move their tender tongue as required for
speech, but in the child Mary there was no such defect;
for as far as her natural powers were concerned She
was stronger than other children, and as She exercised
sovereignty and dominion over all creation, She certainly
could exercise it in regard to her own powers and facul
ties, if She had chosen to do so. Her not speaking there
fore was virtue and great perfection, which opportunely
concealed her science and grace, and evaded the aston
ishment naturally caused by one speaking in infancy.
Besides, if it is wonderful that one should speak, who
according to the natural course ought to be incapable of
speech, I do not know, whether it is not more wonderful,
that one, who is able to speak from her birth should be
silent for one year and a half.
379. It was ordained therefore by the Most High,
that the sovereign Child should voluntarily keep this si
lence during the time in which ordinarily other children
are unable to speak. The only exception made was in
regard to the conversation held with the angels of her
guard, or when She addressed Herself in vocal prayer to
the Lord. For in regard to intercourse with God, the
Author of speech, and with the holy angels, his messen
gers, when they treated in a visible manner with Her, this
reason for maintaining silence did not hold good : on the
contrary it was befitting, that, since there was no im
pediment, She should pray with her lips and her tongue ;
for it would not be proper to keep them unemployed for
so long a time. But her mother never heard Her, nor
<iid she know of her being able to speak during that
period ; and from this it can be better seen, what perfec
tion it required in Her to pass that year and a half of
her infancy in total silence. But during that time, when
ever her mother freed her arms and hands, the child
Mary immediately grasped the hands of her parents and
kissed them with great submission and reverent humility,
and in this practice She continued as long as her parents
lived. She also sought to make them understand during
that period of her age, that She desired their blessing,
speaking more by the affection of her heart than by word
of mouth. So great was her reverence for them, that
never did She fail in the least point concerning the honor
and obedience due to them. Nor did She cause them
any trouble or annoyance, since She knew beforehand all
their thoughts and was anxious to fulfill them before they
were made manifest.
380. In all her actions and movements She was gov
erned by the Holy Ghost, being perfect in all her actions ;
yet her most ardent love was never satisfied, but She
unceasingly renewed her fervent aspirations to emulate
still greater gifts (I Cor. 12, 31). The presence of the
Most High continually preserved in this sovereign Child
the divine revelations and the intellectual visions. And
if sometimes his Providence suspended one kind of vision
or enlightenment, She was enraptured by others; for
from the clear vision of the Divinity, which I have men
tioned above and which took place as soon as She was
born and raised to heaven by the angels (No. 332)
She retained the images of what She had seen. Thus
coming from the wine cellar, where charity is set in or
der (Cant. 2, 4) her heart was wounded with love, and
returning ever toward it in contemplation, She was again
and again set afire body and soul in all her being. As
her body was yet weak and tender and this love strong
as death (Cant 8, 6), She soon felt the death pangs of
love, of which She in her tenderness would have died,
had not the Almighty strengthened Her and preserved by
a miracle the inferior part of her being and her natural
life. Many times however, the Lord permitted, that
this tender and virginal little body should be overcome
by the violence of love, so that the holy angels might
sustain Her and comfort Her in the fulfillment of the
saying of the Spouse : "Fulcite me floribus, quia amore
langueo." "Stay me up with flowers, because I languish
with love" (Cant. 11, 5). And this the most noble kind
of martyrdom was a thousand times repeated in this
heavenly Lady surpassing in it all the martyrs in merit,
and also in sufferings.
381. The pain of love is so sweet and attractive, that
the more it prevails the more it is sought, and he who suf
fers it, longs to hear him spoken of, whom he loves, thus
seeking to be cured by renewal of the wound. This
most sweet deception serves to keep the soul in suspense
between a painful life and a sweet death. This was the
state of the child Mary, when speaking to her angels
and hearing them discourse about her Beloved. She
asked them many times, saying: "Ministers of my
Lord, his messengers and most beautiful works of his
hands, sparks of that divine fire, which consumes my
heart, since you enjoy his eternal beauty unveiled and
unrestrained, reveal to me the tokens of my Beloved;
what are his conditions? Tell me whether perhaps I
have displeased Him ; tell me what He desires and seeks
of me, and do not delay in lightening my pain, for I am
dying of love."
382. And the supernal spirits replied: "Spouse of
the Most High, thy Beloved is the only One, He that is
for Himself, who has no need of anything but of whom
all stand in need. He is infinite in his perfections, im
mense in his greatness, without limit in his power, in
effable in his wisdom, without measure in his goodness;
He gives a beginning to all things without having a be
ginning Himself; He governs the world without asking
consent, preserves it without having need of it, sees the
beauty of all creation without ever being comprehended
in his beauty by any one, and raises to blessedness by
his beauty those who succeed in seeing Him face to
face. Infinite are, O Lady, the perfections of thy
Spouse : they exceed thy comprehension and his high
judgments are inscrutable to the creature."
383. In such colloquies and many others, too high
for our capacity, most holy Mary passed her infancy,
conversing with the angels and the Most High, becom
ing more and more like to Him. As her fervor and
longing to see our highest Good increased, being en
tirely enraptured in Him, She was by the disposal of
the Lord many times borne bodily by the hands of the
angels to the empyrean heaven, where She enjoyed the
presence of the Divinity. On those occasions She would
at times see God face to face, at other times by infused
images of the highest and most godlike kind. She saw
also the angels by clear and intuitive vision, their de
grees, orders and hierarchies, and many sacraments were
made manifest to Her on each occasion. As these vis
ions were often repeated She gradually, by becoming
accustomed to them and by acts of virtue which She ex
ercised in connection with them, began to appear more
a divine than a human creature. No one else would
ever be capable of such favors and of others connected
therewith ; and even the mortal nature of that Queen her
self would have been deprived of life, if She had not been
preserved by a miracle.
384. When in her childhood it was necessary to ac
cept any service or benefit at the hands of her parents
or of any other creature, She always received it with
interior humility and thankfulness, beseeching the Lord
to reward the good which they did in love toward Her.
Though She had attained such a high degree of sanctity
and though She was filled with the light of God and his
mysteries, She nevertheless judged Herself to be the
least of all creatures, and whenever She made compari
sons, She ascribed to herself the last place of all. Even
of the nourishment necessary to sustain life, She con
sidered Herself unworthy, though She was the Queen
and Mistress of all creation.
385. My daughter, he that received more ought to
consider himself more needy, since his debt becomes so
much the greater. All should humiliate themselves since
of themselves they are nothing, nor can they do any
thing or possess ought. On this account they that are
raised up by the hand of the Almighty, should humiliate
themselves as mere dust. For, left to themselves and to
their nothingness and unworthiness, they should esteem
themselves so much the more indebted and bound to
thankfulness for that which by themselves they can
never repay. Let man acknowledge its condition : for no
one can say: I have made myself, I preserve myself in
existence, I can prolong my life or postpone death. All
his being and preservation is in the hands of the Lord;
let each one therefore humble himself in his presence,
and thou, my dearest, do not forget these truths.
386. I wish also that thou esteem as a great treasure
the virtue of silence, which I have practiced from my
birth. By the light which the Most High gave me, I
was conversant with all the virtues; but I attached my
self to this one with great predilection, resolving to ad
here to it as a companion and as a friend during all my
life. Therefore I kept it inviolate, although I could
speak from the moment of my entrance into the world.
To speak without moderation and forethought is a twoedged
sword, which wounds both him that speaks and
him that hears, and thus in two ways destroys charity
or hinders it in all the virtues. From this thou canst
understand, how much God is offended by the vice of
inconsiderate and loose talk, and how justly loquacity,
and the tumult of disputation estranges his spirit and
veils his presence. For, those that talk much, cannot
keep free from grievous sins (Prov 10, 19). Only with
God and with his saints one can speak with security,
and even then it must be with forethought and discre
tion. With creatures it is very difficult to preserve the
golden middle, without danger of passing from the cor
rect and necessary to the imperfect and superfluous.
387. The way to avoid this danger is to tend contin
ually toward the other extreme, striving rather to re
flect and be silent. For the prudent medium of speak
ing only what is necessary, is found more in reflection
than in immoderate speech. Remember, my soul, that
thou canst not disport thyself in self-sought conversation
with creatures without relinquishing God in the secret
interior of thy soul; and that which thou canst not do
without impudence and insult in thy intercourse with
other creatures, thou shouldst not do in thy dealings
with thy Lord and the Lord of all. Close thy ears to
the deceitful conversations, which might induce thee to
speak what thou shouldst not; for it is not just, that
thou speak more than what is enjoined thee by thy Lord
and Master. Listen to his holy law, which He has, with
so liberal a hand, written in thy heart ; hear the voice of
thy Pastor, and answer Him there, and Him only. I
wish to impress thee with the fact, that if thou art to be
my disciple and companion, it must be by signalizing
thyself especially in this virtue of silence. Reflect much,
and write this doctrine in thy heart today, and attach
thyself more and more to this virtue ; for first I wish to
see thee established in this, and then I will teach thee
how to speak.
388. I do not dissuade thee from speaking words of
admonition and consolation to thy daughters and thy
subjects. Speak also with those, who can give thee
tokens of thy Beloved, and who can instruct and in
flame thee with his love. In such kind of conversation
thou wilt acquire a profitable silence of the soul; since
in them is excited a horror and disgust for conversa
tion of men and thou wilt learn to relish conversation
about the wished-for eternal Good only. Then with the
force of love transforming thy being into that of thy
Beloved, the impetus of thy passions will weaken and
thou shalt arrive at that kind of sweet martyrdom, which
I suffered, when I complained of my body and of mortal
life ; for they seemed to me a dreary imprisonment which
hindered my flight, although not my love. O my
daughter, forget all the earthly things in the hiding
place of thy silence, and imitate me with all thy fervor
and all thy strength; for thus shalt thou arrive at that
state, to which thy Spouse invites thee. There thou
shalt hear the consoling words, which sustained me in
the pangs of my love : "My dove, dilate thy heart, and
give admission, my cherished one, to that sweet pain,
for my heart is wounded by thy love." Thus the Lord
spoke to me, and this thou thyself hast heard repeated
ly, for to those that are alone and in silence does his
Majesty speak.
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